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Holy moley, that’s a lot of ‘lowly’s’

1/9/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

On the Mark — By Craig Marks

There are many ways to measure your sports teams’ degree of success. You could base it on wins and losses or their place in the standings, but that’s kind of boring. Or you could base it on how much antacid you digested during their seasons, but that would take a lot of record keeping.

I prefer to count “lowly’s.”

As I did last year, I used Google to count the number of times in 2013 the Indians, Browns and Cavaliers were described as “lowly” in the search results. There are other adjectives I could have searched for, such as “dysfunctional,” “disappointing” “or soul-crushing,” but “lowly” seems to work best. It’s the bottom rung of the respect ladder. When you are described as “lowly,” offense is intended. A victory over the lowly Browns brings no joy; a loss is unacceptable.

Before I state my findings, please note that your results may vary, due to my classified search methodology and because I was watching TV while I was counting. But my numbers should give a good indication of where things stand.

  • According to my Google searches, the Cleveland Indians were described as “lowly” only 12 times in 2013. Of those 12, seven of the mentions were referring to the 2013 team, and four of those were from the first month of the season. The other five instances of “lowly Indians” were in reference to the sorry state of the team before manager Terry Francona took over.
    That’s the extent of the good news. For the Cavaliers and Browns, “lowly” and their team names fit together like interlocking pieces of a very bleak jigsaw puzzle. They go together like “angry” and “mob,” like “jolly” and “St. Nick” or like “grumpy” and “Akron mayor.” There must be a lot of keyboards with worn-down “L’s.”
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers were described as “lowly” 119 times in 2013. January was the lowliest month with 38. There were 18 “lowly’s” in December, so at least the team is trending up.
  • The Browns were described with the “L word” 255 times in the past year, 86 times in December. A blog post about the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders doing a “Blurred Lines” parody found reason to mention the “lowly Browns.” An article about the upcoming “Draft Day” movie mentions the “accurately depicted lowly Cleveland Browns organization.” The Browns have no logo on their helmets, but they’re certainly wearing a scarlet “L” on their uniforms.
    Look hard enough and you can find glimmers of hope. The “surging Browns” were mentioned 25 times in 2013, 21 of those in October. The Cavaliers were more resistant to surges, with only five “surging Cavaliers” mentions.
    Maybe things will change for the better in 2014. Maybe this is as lowly as they’ll go.
    But I fear that won’t be the case. Next year, I’m likely to find more postings like this one written by a blogger on the Baltimore Ravens fan site “Purple Reign:” “Want to be really depressed? If Baltimore, San Diego and Miami all lose on Sunday, the Steelers will clinch a playoff berth with a win over the lowly Browns. Yikes.”
    If you want to be really, really depressed, I suggest rooting for the lowly Browns.
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